PLYMOUTH – Meatloaf with a cheesy center. A surf and turf tower. A grilled cheese served for dessert. Located in Plymouth’s Colony Place Shopping Mall, Alden Park gives diners on the South Shore a sophisticated option for a night out.
Managing partner Walt Wunder has created a culinary oasis in a sea of retail spots with a lively bar, comfortable dining room and a patio out back. So when you’re done shopping, you can kick back and relax.
“People forget they’re in a shopping mall,” Wunder said. ‘When you’re in the setting you forget all about it, because of the oasis-like feel that you have with it.”
While Walt tends to guests in the dining room, Executive chef Brent Clark comes up with creative American fare back in the kitchen.
“It’s comfort food with a twist,” Clark explained. “It’s something that someone’s familiar with, but taking it to that next level.”
“He does put interesting twists on items that get you intrigued to go, ‘Wow, that’s something different that I wouldn’t even think about,’” Wunder agreed.
So rather than serving plain old meatloaf, Brent stuffs his with gouda, spinach and roasted red pepers, and serves it over a bed of garlic mashed potatoes.
“It’s ooey gooey. It’s cheesy. As soon as you cut in, cheese just melts out. Pretty much every bite has the cheesy, herb kind of flavor the whole way through it.”
While this isn’t a steak house, they certainly offer some choice cuts. The steak and butter poached lobster is a tower of tastiness that starts with a potato cake, topped with sautéed spinach, a porcini rubbed filet and a butter-poached lobster tail.
Equally as eye-popping is the ultra-indulgent Black and Bleu Rib Eye.
“It’s a stack. You have the potatoes; you have the filet; the sauce kind of just oozing over top and then a mound of fried onions on top of that,” described Chef Brent.
For a more casual way to get your steak intake, order one of the flatbreads. Topped with red onion marmalade, cheddar and flank steak, this pizza will certainly please.
“You get the sweetness, the spiciness, the crunch of the pizza dough, the tenderness of the meat,” said Brent. “We have three kinds of cheeses on that, and it’s just melty, ooey, gooey beautiful flavors.”
Since it’s just a short distance from the water, Chef Brent says seafood is prevalent on the menu as well.
“Being in Plymouth, being very close to the water front, we try to get the freshest fish. We get local clams. We get local oysters. We get lobsters that are local, coming literally right off of the pier.”
There’s pan seared scallops, cooked perfectly golden and placed over a bed of jalapeno corn puree and topped with a bacon tomato relish.
Mussels come steamed in a garlic beurre blanc with crostini for dipping.
The crab cakes are chock full of sweet meat, seared until crispy and served with a spicy aioli and salsa.
“Crabs are very sweet itself, so we add a little bit of Cajun aioli which is nice and got that little spice to it. Then also cooling it down just a little bit more with the sweet fruit salsa,” Brent explained.
Lobster lovers will long for Alden Park’s creamy lobster bisque overloaded with the good stuff.
“It’s sweet; it’s very silky. That lobster comes through. We do add fresh chunks of lobster into it. So, they’re just swimming in that beautiful lobster bisque.”
Loads of lobster can also be found in the Lobster Mac n Cheese.
“It’s claws, knuckles; it’s tails; it’s big chunks. We try not to cut it up too much because you want to see big chunks of lobster,” the chef said. “It’s a beautiful dish.”
While all the apps and entrees are impressive, the dessert course is where the kitchen truly shines. They have adorable shot-sized desserts served in their own caddy, and a sweet version of grilled cheese that’s like nothing you’ve ever seen.
“You’re looking at it like, ‘this is dessert when I’m not supposed to be eating a grilled cheese for dessert,’” Wunder said.
This divine dessert changes with the seasons, but if you’re lucky, you could be there when they’re serving the Bananas Fosters Grilled Cheese, which Chef Brent explains in mouth-watering detail.
“We start with a banana bread, hard sear. Nice and crispy on one side, nice and fluffy on the other. Then we take cream cheese whipped up with vanilla. That’s going to go right on top of the bread. Little candied walnuts. Another slab of bread. And then we take the bananas foster sauce and just kind of ladle it all over the dish.”
It’s true that most of these dishes are pretty rich, but luckily, you don’t have to be a millionaire to afford them.
“We want to do Boston food with Plymouth pricing. And that’s exactly what we do. We do that upscale food that you don’t have to drive to Boston for. We love what we do and it shows.”
You can find Alden Park at the Colony Place shopping center in Plymouth and online at aldenparkrestaurant.com.
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